The Daily Traveler: Olympic Venues

Kudos to the brains behind London’s 2012 Olympic venues: Because the city won't need all the structures once the games end, many are temporary (and recyclable!). Of course, London has a long history, and some of the sporting grounds have been around for centuries. For the website of the Condé Nast Traveler, I took a look at the oldest and the newest Olympic venues in the city.

15 Things You Didn't Know About London's Olympic Venues

One from the newest:
Basketball Arena

Basketball, Handball
Though the Basketball Arena can seat 12,000 spectators, making it one of the largest and most-used in the games, the venue itself is entirely temporary. The steel frame is covered with a PVC fabric, and the whole thing will be entirely dismantled when the Olympics are over. New houses will be built in the space.

One from the oldest:
Hyde Park

Swimming, Triathlon
Open to the public since: 1637
Hyde Park was originally used as a private hunting ground for Henry VIII in 1536, and it wasn’t until more than a century later that Charles I opened it up to the public. The Serpentine Lake, where the Olympic swimming events will take place, was built under the orders of Queen Caroline in the 1730s. Casual bathers still swim in the lake every summer, and the Serpentine Swimming Club hosts an infamous race there every Christmas.

Click through to see the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photos courtesy of London 2012

The Daily Traveler: State Capitol Buildings

I did a slideshow featuring every state capitol building, the year it was completed, the architectural style (hint: most are neo-classical), when it is open to visitors, and an interesting fact.

50 Nifty United States Capitols

Rhode Island State House
Providence, Rhode Island

Year completed: 1904
Architectural style: Neo-Classical
FYI: The lobby of Rhode Island’s State House holds two Civil War-era cannons; one was used in the Battle of Gettysburg, the other in Bull Run. The Gettysburg Gun, as it’s called, still has an iron cannonball lodged into it, melted into place from the heat of a Confederate shot that hit it. (Until the 1960s, it also contained the gunpowder.)
Visit: Guided tours are available daily; schedule them through the Secretary of State’s office.


Photo Source

The Daily Traveler: Old Olympic Venues

In honor of the upcoming 2012 Olympics, I check in on some past Olympic venues.

Old Olympic Venues You Can Still Visit


Helsinki, Finland

Summer 1952

Not all sports arenas continue to host athletic events once the torch has left town. After the 1952 summer Olympics in Helsinki, the city repurposed some of its sports complexes into museums. The Olympic Stadium is now the Sports Museum of Finland (pictured) and the Tennis Palace is an exhibition space for the Helsinki City Art Museum as well as a movie theater.

Click through to see the rest of the slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo courtesy of the Sports Museum of Finland

The Daily Traveler: World's Fair Sites

Of all of the slideshow assignments I've received from the Condé Nast Traveler to date, so far this has been my favorite to research and write. It's inspired a new travel goal: to visit as many World's Fair sites as possible.

15 Amazing Structures Originally Built for World's Fairs

The Crystal Palace
1851 Great Exhibition; London, England

Though it's the only building on this list that's no longer around, Hyde Park's Crystal Palace—constructed for the 1851 Great Exhibition out of nearly a million square feet of glass—is important because of the impression it made and the impact it had on the architecture of subsequent World's Fairs. The 1853 New York Crystal Palace in New York City; the 1876 Horticultural Hall in Philadelphia; the 1879 Garden Palace in Sydney; and the still-standing 1900 Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées in Paris all took design cues from London's giant iron-and-glass exhibition hall. After the Exhibition closed, the Crystal Palace moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham, where it became an educational center and amusement park, with fountains and water towers, statues, and fair-like events, including car races and ballooning. The palace was plagued by financial problems, but it was ultimately destroyed by a giant blaze in 1936. At the Crystal Palace Park today, you can still see some of the ruins, including cast-iron dinosaurs that were once part of a natural history exhibit.


Click through to see the rest of the slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.


Photo Courtesy of the  Crystal Palace Foundation

May Issue: Grand Central Feature Package


The Commuter's Guide to Grand Central Terminal
Where to eat, shop, marvel, have a cocktail, play a round of tennis, and shoot a film—all while rushing to make the 6:12.

Grand Central Terminal may be in New York City, but it really is our domain. City residents never pay much mind to the beautiful Beaux-Arts building unless they have to take a trip to the northern suburbs. We Westchester commuters scuff our shoes daily on the terminal’s Tennessee marble floors.

Still, we don’t always take the time to appreciate the smart design, the impressive engineering, the meticulous planning that goes into keeping the transportation hub humming. Often, because we’re running for a train. But, before we pop our earbuds in and sit on a comfy Metro-North seat, we should take a moment to soak it all in. After all, it’s one of the greatest buildings in New York—at least according to New York magazine, which gathered a panel of experts in early 2011 to name the best New York City buildings of all time. “Grand Central creates a new type,” Barry Bergdoll, chief curator in the department of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art, told the magazine. “It’s really an indoor urban room that’s absolutely stunning.”

If that wasn’t enough, within its walls there are retail stores brimming with worthy last-minute gifts, gourmet goodies at every turn, a cocktail lounge that looks like it was transported from the piazzas of Florence, and even a tennis court. Here, we present our commuter’s guide to getting the most out of Grand Central. At the very least, it’ll give you another reason to feel superior to those Long Islanders, who have to come into the City via the hellish subterranean maze that is the current Penn Station.

To read the rest of the article, either click through or download the PDF above.

November, December, and January

Best of the Decade
An editorial feature package—edited by me and written with other editorial staffers—about the best county institutions that have been in business since the magazine was founded ten years ago. "One decade. Ten years of tireless research, experimentation, and reporting. Year after year, we scout out the most superlative offerings in Westchester County for our annual 'Best of Westchester' issue. Now, we’ve undertaken the enormous task of reviewing all of our previous editors' picks, distilling them down to the absolutely essential—the most stupendous, the most stunning, the most delicious, the most thrilling, the most dazzling—to bring you the 'Best of the Decade.' Think of it as the Best of the Best of Westchester."

Then & Now
A feature about how the county has changed in the past ten years: "Where do you go when, on a warm and breezy day, you want to have a drink or a bite to eat along the Hudson River? X2O? Half Moon? Red Hat on the River? The Day Boat Café? The Boathouse? A decade ago, none of these summertime staples would have been an option. The Hudson was not where we went to have fun. The river wasn’t for recreation—it was for work. (Not glamorous work, either—Riverkeeper called it the 'region’s sewer.') The water was polluted, the sites were choked off from the rest of the county, and it still had the workhorse vibe of lingering manufacturing industries, many of which had already taken flight, leaving chemical-filled messes in their wake."

She Checked It Out
A Q&A with writer Marilyn Johnson: "The old stereotype of the librarian with the tight bun, horn-rimmed glasses, and finger pressed to her lips in the 'shhh' position has been shattered. Now, you’re more likely to see librarians with tattoos, funky haircuts, and blogs that—rather than being meek and reserved—actually are quite loud-mouthed and opinionated. Marilyn Johnson, Briarcliff resident for the past 24 years, is one of the writers to shatter the fussy old preconception about librarians. Her book, This Book Is Overdue!, published in February, chronicles the work librarians do today, from getting the library plugged in to fighting the Patriot Act."

Happening Holidays
A round-up of holiday events outside of the usual performances of Handel and The Nutcracker: "People often forget that A Christmas Carol is one of the best ghost stories of all time. If you love Christmas/Halloween mash-ups, like The Nightmare Before Christmas, and want to see the Dickens tale become even more ghastly, the Westchester Broadway Theatre has a new show just for you. A Sleepy Hollow Christmas Carol, adapted by Jean-Paul Richard, weaves together A Christmas Carol and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In it, Scrooge, played by Mamaroneck’s John Treacy Egan, is visited by Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle, and the Headless Horseman."

Totally Goth
A review of a local production of Jekyll & Hyde: "Behind every great man there’s a great woman and, in the case of split personalities, there are two."

Four Questions For...David Harbour
A Q&A with an actor in The Merchant of Venice and The Green Hornet: "'Al Pacino is a real gentleman—generous and gracious. He’s really grounded in being an actor and loves working on scenes. But, on stage, he’s like an untrained animal—you never know what he’s going to do.'"

Hepladock the Mylagoat
An item about a locally produced game that uses nonsense words: "'People think the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is coming up with the idea, but it’s not—it’s getting the idea in front of people,' Phelps says. After the meeting with the buyer, Barnes and Noble agreed to stock 48 copies of the game. Today, five years later, Yamodo sells more than 30,000 copies per year through Barnes and Noble, Toys R’ Us, and independent retailers, as well as its own website ("

Book Clubs' Best Reads
A round-up of what local book clubs are reading: "Looking for a great book recommendation? Look no further than local active readers—the ones who go to their book-group meetings having actually read the books, not just to socialize."

November Culture Highlights
Barenaked Ladies, Anna Deveare Smith, Kathleen Hill, and more.

November Home Theater
The Kids Are All Right, Toy Story 3, The Pacific, and The Goonies.

December Culture Highlights
Cyndi Lauper, Judy Gold, and more.

December Home Theater
Inception, The Other Guys, Despicable Me, and Futurama Vol. 5.

January Culture Highlights
Citizen Cope, Twelfth Night, the African American Writers and Readers Literary Tea, and more.

January Home Theater
Genre movies: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Machete, The Naked Kiss, Shock Corridor, and Justified.

Please click the links to read the articles in full.